One North College

7 February 2024

In Praise of Parks

I enjoyed reading “Overcrowding the Outdoors” (Fall 2023). National Parks rejuvenate me. I worked in Yellowstone as a seasonal “Savage” from 1974 to 1977. I loved being there so much that I took my junior year at the University of Montana. I discovered Yellowstone employment after learning my family was moving from Ohio to Texas the summer after freshman year. To avoid the turmoil, I took a look in the careers trailer behind Laird and discovered a book called Summer Jobs in National Parks. Voila!

I sent applications to six park concession companies and heard back only from Hamilton’s Stores in Yellowstone. I worked as a cashier selling curios, a soda fountain waitress, a lodge front desk clerk, and finally a supervisor. During that last summer I heard I was accepted to the master’s program at the University of Arizona in renewable natural resources. My experiences during those summers established a lifelong love of the park system, and I have returned to Yellowstone for many visits over the years with my family. The need to manage crowds is real, and the reservation system is a valuable tool.

—Julie Welch ’77

Science and the Liberal Arts

I’m not one to comment publicly on much of what I read, but Alison Byerly’s column (“Advancing the Liberal Arts,” Fall 2023) motivated me to do so. I could not do what I’m doing now without a strong liberal arts education. I learned more about how to do science in my PhD program, but my liberal arts education taught me how to think about science, how to communicate about science, how to collaborate in science (and life!), and how to teach science—the last of these was with no formal training but instead through a combination of outstanding teachers to emulate, numerous in-class presentations, work-study opportunities as a tutor, and group study with classmates.

Above all, at Carleton I learned how to learn—an invaluable skill in a career with an ever-changing landscape: research administration. I suspect I’m not alone in leveraging a Carleton education and an advanced science degree to reach the highest levels in a career field with little formal training. Byerly’s comment that liberal arts degrees “provide a foundation in critical skills that lead to robust careers in a variety of fields” captures my experience perfectly. Next year I plan to submit an externship proposal to the Career Center, to have a student shadow me during winter break. I’m also in the early stages of drafting an article for a professional society’s publication; my working title is “Research Administration as a Liberal Art.”

—Nancy Devino ’84

Words Matter

As someone who works with incarcerated individuals, I was both excited to see the cover article for the winter issue (“The Lock & Key,” Winter 2023) and startled to see the use of the word “prisoner” on the cover in the same sentence with “transcend stereotypes.” I would have hoped that the term “incarcerated people” would have replaced the word “prisoner” for an article in the magazine of a progressive college such as Carleton, and I hope you can correct this for the future. Words are powerful, and a first step towards transcending stereotypes and addressing the systemic issues of the prison industrial complex is to name the humanity of the people behind bars, not support a label that places them in another category.

—Kelly Barham P ’26

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